Wednesday, April 16, 2014

DISHONESTY TRIBUNAL: 35 cases of dodgy lawyers with a mere 9 struck off & 26 slaps on the wrist is a “busy year” claims Scottish Solicitors Discipline Tribunal

Dishonesty among lawyers is tolerated more in Scotland. A SCOTTISH TRIBUNAL tasked with judging corrupt lawyers and applying sanctions from a slap on the wrist to a striking off, is generally viewed as an old pals act back slapping exercise which tolerates dishonesty among the Scottish legal profession much more than it’s English counterpart, say critics & clients who have endured lengthy and in many cases almost pointless hearings of the Scottish Solicitors Discipline Tribunal (SSDT).

The SSDT, who claimed in a recent legal profession internal media story that they had been through a “very busy” year to 31 October 2013, revealed the tribunal heard a less than stellar 35 cases compared to 26 for the previous year. The Tribunal claimed it had a "significant increase in business" in its hearings, which now also include appeals by lay complainers against decisions of the Law Society of Scotland not to make a finding of unsatisfactory professional conduct.

However, out of the 35 cases which actually made it to the tribunal through the usual maze of self protecting self regulation where lawyers regulate themselves, a paltry NINE cases resulted in solicitors being struck off, with the remaining solicitors receiving slaps on the wrist, broken down as three suspended from practice, two had a restriction placed on their practising certificate, four were fined and censured and a further six were censured.

And, while the SSDT claims to take its duties to deal with the worst elements of dodgy lawyers seriously, it has been reported by the legal profession’s internal media that in only two of the cases brought before the tribunal in the past year, undisclosed amounts of compensation were ordered by the tribunal to be paid.

A summary of the cases heard before the tribunal in it’s “busy year” claimed that: “In all, nine cases involved failure to complete conveyancing procedures in a proper manner (with or without other failures), and the same number saw a failure to comply with the accounts rules. Eight cases involved misleading the Law Society of Scotland or other parties, and seven a failure to reply to the Society or others. There were numerous other findings of misconduct including five of dishonesty.”

As of today, the 2013 annual report has yet to be published on the tribunal website, which is well known for its lack of information and more often than not publishing of judgements months after they have occurred – a move viewed by many in the media as an attempt to hide the true scale of dishonesty and dodgy lawyers from the public’s attention.

DISHONESTY IS THEIR GAME: The Scottish way of dealing with dishonest lawyers often gives a slap on the wrist whereas solicitors found guilty of dishonesty stand a greater chance of being struck off in the rest of the UK:

Dishonesty in Scots solicitors more common than lawyers would have us believe. SCOTTISH solicitors “make false representations in order to improve their client’s position, not necessarily their own”. This was a claim made by solicitor Alistair Cockburn, Chairman of the Scottish Solicitors Discipline Tribunal (SSDT) in response to key questions raised by BBC Journalist Sam Poling in a recent investigative programme Lawyers Behaving Badly which is no longer available for public viewing.

The claims made by the tribunal Chief led to startling revelations over how the lawyer led discipline tribunal which is charged with making findings against members of Scotland’s legal profession deals with allegations & evidence of dishonesty against rogue solicitors.

Insisting the discipline tribunal was ‘robust’ and had a duty to the public, the Chair of the SSDT went on to justify his position, stating “One has to assess the extent to which anyone suffered in consequence of that dishonesty.  You have to take into consideration the likelihood of re-offending and then take a decision.” Mr Cockburn went onto claim dishonesty is not commonplace and would result in solicitors being struck off. The SSDT Chair told the BBC journalist: “Normally dishonesty will result in striking-off.”

In comparison to the light way in which the Scottish tribunal appears to treat dishonesty among legal colleagues in all its various shades, English legal experts who studied the judgements of the Scottish Solicitors Discipline Tribunal condemned the way dishonest lawyers are more often than not let off the hook in Scotland.

Speaking on a case where a well known Scottish solicitor accused many times before of dishonesty was at it again, English QC Andrew Hopper said on national television: “We’re dealing with a case of dishonesty and that affects the reputation of the profession. I would have expected this to result in striking off.”

Andrew Boon, Professor of Law added : “The critical thing is the risk factor. If somebody has been dishonest once the likelihood is that they are going to be dishonest again unless they’re stopped.”

Almost all complaints against solicitors indicate at at one stage or another, the solicitor was dishonest to their client, either by making a false representation to them as to the progress of their case, or making false representations to cover their own positions.

Very few complaints made by clients against Scottish solicitors which involve serious allegations of dishonesty have ever resulted in solicitors being struck off by the Scottish Solicitors Discipline Tribunal, and an ongoing media investigation into judges undeclared earnings from top Scots law firms has turned up links between serving members of Scotland’s judiciary, law firms, and solicitors who have frequently been accused of dishonesty yet never struck off.

28 comments:

Anonymous said...

So much for a busy year.Just imagine if the Police were to announce they had a busy year with 35 crimes detected.What a joke.

How much do this lot make hearing 35 lawyers crying about their welfare and putting the boot in about their clients?

And how much are the lawyers getting away with after they have ripped off the clients and sit down to tea with the ssdt?

Anonymous said...

This is the 'Face of Shame' of the Law Society's SSDT?

99% of crooked Scottish lawyers who have either stolen their Client's money, deliberately ruined their Client's lives (because they can) and usually both of the above, if they are even sent to the Law Society's SSDT, all they ever end up with is a red mark between their shoulder-blades?

This is due to all of the back-slapping they get as a reward for causing catastrophic damage and loss to their Clients, which anyone can see from both remarks that have been made in interviews and from picking ANY CASE AT RANDOM from the SSDT's website, which show that the Client is treated like a Pariah and is vehemently resented for having made a legitimate complaint against their crooked Scottish lawyer?

The extent to which the Law Society of Scotland's band of punishment vested interest panels ignore the law-of-the-land, would in a normal country be considered criminal conduct?

Anonymous said...

In my opinion all lawyers are their clients enemies, but the latter don't know it in many cases. A lawyer will steal much more money and get away with it because there is no enforcement, they do what bank robbers do. The difference is that bank robbers risk being caught.

There is no complaints system to protect clients from lawyers. They are societies legalized thieves.

The SSDT ha ha that is a joke. They should join the mixed SLCC Law Society plaque on DOI's blog, just a suggestion DOI.

Anonymous said...

Law Society Scottish Legal Complaints Commission Scottish Solicitors Discipline Tribunal, the same, crooked self policing reprobates. Trust them not.

Anonymous said...

Kind of strange the journal reports it over a month ago and no report even today on the paper thin ssdt website

obviously they do not want it in regular news channels

http://www.journalonline.co.uk/News/1013801.aspx

Discipline Tribunal reports rise in cases

21 March 2014

A "very busy" year to 31 October 2013 has been reported by the Scottish Solicitors' Discipline Tribunal in its latest annual report.

The Tribunal dealt with 35 cases compared with 26 for the previous year, a "significant increase in business", which now also includes appeals by lay complainers against decisions of the Law Society of Scotland not to make a finding of unsatisfactory professional conduct.

Noting in particular the number of cases involving breaches of duties towards mortgage lenders, the Tribunal comments: "It is of concern to the Tribunal that there have been so many cases during the year involvingf a blatant disregard for complying with the obligations contained in the CML Handbook. It is hoped that as this issue has now been the subject of discussion within the profession on whether separate representation is necessary, solicitors will learn from the misfortune of others and ensure that there is a reduction in this type of case coming to the Tribunal in the future."

In all, nine cases involved failure to complete conveyancing procedures in a proper manner (with or without other failures), and the same number saw a failure to comply with the accounts rules. Eight cases involved misleading the Law Society of Scotland or other parties, and seven a failure to reply to the Society or others. There were numerous other findings of misconduct including five of dishonesty.

Nine solicitors were struck off, three suspended from practice, two had a restriction placed on their practising certificate, four were fined and censured and a further six were censured. In two cases compensation was ordered in addition.

The report provides further details of the findings in individual cases.

Anonymous said...

DISHONESTY TRIBUNAL: 3500 cases of dodgy lawyers with a mere 0 struck off & 0 slaps on the wrist is a “busy year” claims Scottish Solicitors Discipline Tribunal.
======================================================
If they told me the sky was Blue I would have to check myself. My altered figures are more like it I suspect. I walked past three Law Firms in Hamilton today, and I thought there is no complaints system, the three Law Firms are on Cadzow street and I have never dealt with them. My problem is not with the firms, it is that I know from trying to use it there is no complaints system. Try and complain and you will see what I mean. Lawyers are corrupt because there is no power to keep them in awe. As one lawyer said recently he ruins clients for money. I thought there is one honest ex lawyer, the non existent complaints system will crush his career. Lawyers are dirt, learn from the clients who have dealt with them.

Anonymous said...

The Legal Profession tell us they are squeaky clean, honest. But DOI make a lot of accusations against them and they never deny any of the accusations. DOI are right, these mendacious scumbags will steal all you have and crush you by taking your right to act against them.

Innocent people get indignant when they are accused of corruption. Lawyers get indignant too when they are caught.

Anonymous said...

Diary of Injustice said...
@ 12 April 2014 17:00 previous report.

It is a waste of time, money and effort using Scotland's courts when there are so many with a vested interest against hearing your case. This position also extends to the criminal courts where in recent media coverage we have learned Prosecutors have been involved in bungs to defence lawyers in cases where for instance, rape charges have been dropped .. there are many other examples of a rotten justice system seriously in need of clean up.
==================================
DOI this is my view too you are 100% correct. Like Parliaments are hollowed out shells today Courts are dominated by vested interests because the Judiciary are so corrupt because there is no power to keep them neutral and unbiased. Like Parliaments courts have been infiltrated by vested interests. Justice is an illusion, these crooked bastards know they are pushing injustice but they don't care because they are richer for it. Utter scum in wigs and red robes. Business controls the courts because Judges and Sheriffs are purporting to be honest when they are utterly corrupt. I worship the ground that is coming to them.

Anonymous said...

Re your report,'never a truer word spoken'.

Anonymous said...

Dishonesty among lawyers is tolerated more in Scotland.
===================================
Encouraged is the word I would use. You may be fed up with me saying it but there is no complaints system. Go into any law firm and ask them to sue another lawyer, the friendly atmosphere turns extremely frosty. I detest this so called profession, scum all of them.

Anonymous said...

Sam Poling should have let a victim of a crooked lawyer question Cockburn about the extremely comman place dishonesty. He would have been shredded. We are the people who pay for the BBC through the yearly telly licence and therefor it should be aired in full as we are the masses and those crooked bastards are a mere minority and should be brought down.

Anonymous said...

Punchy headline very good coverage.Wonder how long it will be now before they publish their annual report!

Anonymous said...

adding to what you have said

I imagine a lot of the complaints made about lawyers contain elements of fraud or dishonesty that would make it a criminal offence anywhere else but this tribunal and how lawyers regulate themselves make it all in house and no headline

I do not believe for one minute this ssdt has any honest role to play in 2014 and should therefore be scrapped along with all self regulation of lawyers.

Are the papers waiting on the annual report actually coming out or has the story just been put to bed like anything else to do with bent bankers lawyers and their kind?

Anonymous said...

My own experience at the ssdt is it is a waste of time.
The Law Society took over my complaint and completely ruined it did not mention anything I had told them and also forgot to tell the tribunal our solicitor had taken £4,059 for himself from money we handed over for a house purchase.I put all this in a written statement for the Law Society prosecutor on the day of the tribunal but he refused to use it and refused to call myself and my wife as witnesses.The solicitor was smiling the whole way through and it was continued for another day they did not tell us about and then no verdict because our solicitor made a threat to take them to court and he has never stopped working and probably done the same to other clients because he has a bad reputation all round Haddington.Do not trust any of these tribunals they are just a set up to get their own off the hook and you are right to publish all about it.

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Anonymous said...

an ongoing media investigation into judges undeclared earnings from top Scots law firms has turned up links between serving members of Scotland’s judiciary, law firms, and solicitors who have frequently been accused of dishonesty yet never struck off

Very interesting!Given the numbers of lawyers and judges I am not surprised you have revealed this kind of link.They are obviously rolling in money and interests with each other so reasonable to assume the bad apples who get away with it are still in with the top brass on the bench.

Good to see there are still some real journalists who cannot be bought off or shunted sideways to keep quiet!

Anonymous said...

9 solicitors struck off and half of them will be back in a job before the hearing is even finished.Give them time and they will be back sitting on this tribunal hearing cases against their own colleagues.

Anonymous said...

Reading the headlines today they say 669 doctors have been struck off in the past 5 years to 2012

http://www.theguardian.com/society/2012/dec/30/majority-of-doctors-disciplined-trained-abroad

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/9771022/Revealed-3-in-4-of-Britains-danger-doctors-are-trained-abroad.html

In total, 669 doctors have been either struck off or suspended by the GMC over the last five years.

Of those, only 249 were British (37 per cent) while 420 (63 per cent) were trained abroad – whereas one-third of doctors on the register were trained abroad, and two-thirds in Britain.

I have read plenty about how difficult it is to strike off a doctor and how they also protect each other but it seems lawyers do a better job of protecting themselves than doctors if there are just single figures or a handful of crooked lawyers struck off compared to the likes of the medical profession.

Self regulation of lawyers must end.

Anonymous said...

This tribunal is just a joke put in place by lawyers to keep each other happy.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
In my opinion all lawyers are their clients enemies, but the latter don't know it in many cases. A lawyer will steal much more money and get away with it because there is no enforcement, they do what bank robbers do. The difference is that bank robbers risk being caught.

There is no complaints system to protect clients from lawyers. They are societies legalized thieves.

The SSDT ha ha that is a joke. They should join the mixed SLCC Law Society plaque on DOI's blog, just a suggestion DOI.

16 April 2014 22:09
:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

The SSDT is just a self-congratulating lunch club?

Anonymous said...

16 April 2014 22:50
##########################

This is very interesting...

Three lawyers suspended. Really?

Two had a restrictions placed on their Practising Certificate. Really is that so?

Four were fined and censured. Uhuh! Hmmm!

Six were censured. Interesting? You think so?



Does anyone believe that the above is true?

Can ANYTHING that the SSDT say be relied upon as the TRUTH?

Answer : NO, not one word!

What evidence have we that any of the above is true, or that any of the above has happened as stated?

What if it was all a lie and they were laughing at the Victims of crooked Scottish lawyers and letting these crooks off Scot-Free, whilst allowing you to believe this claptrap?

How would you know?

Well....

Would it interest you dear reader (as you are part of the TRUTH MOVEMENT) to hear the Truth of the matter for a change?

The SSDT (who are supposed to be a bona fide Court standard body - under the legislation) who we are continually told are Independent of the Law Society of Scotland (and are not up to their neck's in collusion with the Law Society, to conspire to give Scotland's crooked lawyers an easy ride and a get-out-of-jail-free-card) sit on the SSDT Panel, Make a Decision and then play No Further Part and have No Further Interest in whether ANY of their Decisions are complied with?

You see, after every SSDT Decision, the SSDT wipe their hands of that Case and hand the Compliance of their decision over to the Law Society of Scotland (who remember, have already unlawfully stripped away as many Heads of Complaint proving liability against their member and themselves) and the SSDT leave it Entirely up to this already discredited and corrupt organisation, the Law Society of Scotland's SOLE CHOICE as to whether they comply with the SSDT's Decisions or NOT?

Therefore, the Scottish Public have ABSOLUTELY NO PROOF OR WAY OF KNOWING IF ANY OF THE SSDT DECISIONS HAVE BEEN COMPLIED WITH?

Incredibly, the SSDT have no clue either?

So, we have the SSDT telling us that their standards are higher than the Court of Session but lower than the High Court but that the SSDT have absolutely NO CLUE, whether ANY of their Decisions have been complied with, they NEVER ask to be informed and have NO INTEREST in being informed?


Wait for the best bit......

The SSDT take it on TRUST (based on the Law Society of Scotland's informal Word - nod and a wink) that the Law Society of Scotland have obeyed the law and complied with the SSDT?

Is this the ultimate deceit, where the reason that the SSDT say that they do not ask the Law Society of Scotland if their Decisions are being complied with is that they already know that they are NOT being complied with and if it were found out they knew this that they would be Contributory Liable?

Well, many who are reading this will know through harsh treatment that the Law Society of Scotland's word cannot be trusted in any way whatsoever and that they have to be watched like a hawk because if they get the chance they will casually break the law in a heart-beat?

This means that the SSDT is NOT a bona fide body, as they pronounce findings, then have no interest in whether their Decisions are complied with, which means that these Decisions are NOT BINDING and under the current cosy arrangement being worked are at best Nothing other than SUGGESTIONS?


So, when you think that the crooked Scottish lawyer who you have had to fight tooth and nail to even get him to be 'prosecuted' before the SSDT, after they have stolen all your money and ruined your life and even when the Law Society's SSDT give them what you consider is a legally binding but never the less derisory fine and restriction on their Practising Certificate, you have precisely 0% of a guarantee that this has actually happened?


It is high time that the police went into these two sham artists, confiscated their computers and put a few noses up against their wood-chip papered walls?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
Diary of Injustice said...
@ 12 April 2014 17:00 previous report.

It is a waste of time, money and effort using Scotland's courts when there are so many with a vested interest against hearing your case. This position also extends to the criminal courts where in recent media coverage we have learned Prosecutors have been involved in bungs to defence lawyers in cases where for instance, rape charges have been dropped .. there are many other examples of a rotten justice system seriously in need of clean up.
==================================
DOI this is my view too you are 100% correct. Like Parliaments are hollowed out shells today Courts are dominated by vested interests because the Judiciary are so corrupt because there is no power to keep them neutral and unbiased. Like Parliaments courts have been infiltrated by vested interests. Justice is an illusion, these crooked bastards know they are pushing injustice but they don't care because they are richer for it. Utter scum in wigs and red robes. Business controls the courts because Judges and Sheriffs are purporting to be honest when they are utterly corrupt. I worship the ground that is coming to them.

16 April 2014 23:17
---------------------------

Complacently corrupt. Being so accustomed to inveigling a System that provides for them and their lawyer colleagues, at the expense of the poor blinded victims coming before them, that they have become consumed with omnipotency and greed, so drunk on power and the slurping of gravy, so above the law and distanced from being caught, so secret that they fear no one from ever finding out their perfect crime?

Until the DOI Journalists came along...

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
Dishonesty among lawyers is tolerated more in Scotland.
===================================
Encouraged is the word I would use. You may be fed up with me saying it but there is no complaints system. Go into any law firm and ask them to sue another lawyer, the friendly atmosphere turns extremely frosty. I detest this so called profession, scum all of them.

17 April 2014 00:15
££££££££££££££££

How could anyone of us get fed up with being told the truth?

You are one of the many who know the truth through having experienced it first hand and are clever enough to know that this is a well oiled scam about money and the abuse of power?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
Sam Poling should have let a victim of a crooked lawyer question Cockburn about the extremely comman place dishonesty. He would have been shredded. We are the people who pay for the BBC through the yearly telly licence and therefor it should be aired in full as we are the masses and those crooked bastards are a mere minority and should be brought down.

17 April 2014 11:14
2true2true2true2true2true

Remember though that Sam Poling perfectly unravelled her long rope and fastidiously fastened the knot and watched in disbelief when 'Mr Borrow Without Consent' - instead of theft, put the noose around his own neck?

Might be something to do with the Law Society of Scotland spending a fortune in legal fees trying to get the BBC's damning programme 'Lawyers Behaving Badly' wiped off the face of the earth, as if it never existed because it expertly exposed widespread corruption?

Remember, Scottish lawyers commit a different kind of dishonesty from lawyers in every other part of the Planet?

A kind of dishonesty that means they must be tickled-under-the-chin and warmly back-slapped, rather than receiving justice like everyone else?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
My own experience at the ssdt is it is a waste of time.
The Law Society took over my complaint and completely ruined it did not mention anything I had told them and also forgot to tell the tribunal our solicitor had taken £4,059 for himself from money we handed over for a house purchase.I put all this in a written statement for the Law Society prosecutor on the day of the tribunal but he refused to use it and refused to call myself and my wife as witnesses.The solicitor was smiling the whole way through and it was continued for another day they did not tell us about and then no verdict because our solicitor made a threat to take them to court and he has never stopped working and probably done the same to other clients because he has a bad reputation all round Haddington.Do not trust any of these tribunals they are just a set up to get their own off the hook and you are right to publish all about it.

17 April 2014 18:00
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Welcome Newbie, we hear your pain....

This is a story about Law Society corruption?


The reason they took over the 'prosecution' of your crooked Scottish lawyer is the same reason that they do so for everyone's complaint against their crooked Scottish lawyers?

It is to fix the result?

Everything you wrote to the Law Society of Scotland, they try from day one to minimise, obfuscate and strike-out because they could give a shit about you or your legal rights?

Please understand that the Law Society of Scotland are solely interested in keeping their crooked Scottish lawyer member, continually able to charge fat fees and to cause damage and destruction to as many people as possible?

The Law Society's Fiscal is just that. He/She is under Instruction to look after the crooked Scottish lawyers best possible outcome and to rub your face in the shit?

They are never and I mean NEVER on your side?

The SSDT is a sham, where they too carry out exactly what the Law Society of Scotland want to happen, this is all established fact?

You are being punished for reporting 'fault' with your crooked Scottish lawyer because as far as these criminals are concerned, they do not allow this?

The only caveat is when (and this concerns the minuscule number of Scottish crooked lawyers who are struck off in a year - which is 0.0009%) is where these lawyers have stood up against the Law Society of Scotland, have refused to break the law for them (to ditch a Client, Case or tell lies)?

Like infamously, when they struck-off an honest hard working lawyer for not replying to a Law Society letter timeously?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
9 solicitors struck off and half of them will be back in a job before the hearing is even finished.Give them time and they will be back sitting on this tribunal hearing cases against their own colleagues.

18 April 2014 10:08
***********************

Where is the proof that any solicitors have been struck off?

The SSDT only give recommendations?

As they do not keep ANY records of whether or Not their Decisions have been complied with?

From the track record of the Law Society, for it is ONLY them who know whether or Not these SSDT Decisions have been complied with (and they are a secret organisation who do Not have to prove compliance) then it is a safe bet that a large percentage of these crooked lawyers are being let-off and are laughing all the way to the bank?

Anonymous said...

C'mon people, wake up and smell the haggis....

0.09% or less, crooked Scottish lawyers a year?

We are being pissed-on from a great height?

Anonymous said...

I noticed that the SSDT have adopted Lord NONO's anti transparency agenda?

If you go onto the Diary Page of the SSDT's website, you will only ever see the dates of Hearings that have already taken place?

This is an outrageous ploy to prevent the Scottish Public and the Press from attending any of these SSDT Hearings, for if they did it would most likely lead to a report to the Police and the beginning of the end of their monopoly of misfeance against the Scottish Public?

Yet, notice how they still perpetrate the well worn out lie that their SSDT Hearings are always in Public?

If this was the case, then certain well known figures would be desperate for bail?